US Republican hopeful backs right to ban mosques

Date: 7/17/2011

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain on Sunday said US communities that want to ban mosques have a right to do so, as he backed opponents of a mosque being built in Tennessee.

"Islam is both a religion and a set of laws –– Sharia laws. That's the difference between any one of our traditional religions where it's just about religious purposes," Cain told Fox News Sunday.

Asked whether a community, like the one in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, should be able to "ban a mosque," Cain replied: "Yes, they have the right to do that."

Cain, who once ran the Godfather's Pizza chain, insisted his position on the mosque in Murfreesboro, which has faced legal challenges from community leaders, was "not discriminating based upon their particular religion."

The 65–year–old businessman, who has never held public office and has staked out hard conservative positions in a bid to stand out from a crowded Republican field of candidates, added he was "willing to take a harder look at people who might be terrorists."

An African–American, Cain said his position did not conflict with the prejudice he may have experienced growing up in the United States in 1950s and 1960s.

"Look, I know that there's a peaceful group of Muslims in this country. God bless them and they're free to worship.

"If you look at my career, I have never discriminated against anybody because of their religion, their sex, or origin, or anything like that," he said.

"I'm simply saying I owe it to the American people to be cautious because terrorists are trying to kill us," he added. "And so yes I'm going to err on the side of caution rather than on the side of carelessness."

Cain was also an executive at Coca–Cola, Pillsbury and Burger King, and has served as chairman, president and chief executive of the National Restaurant Association.

He hosts "The Herman Cain Show" out of Atlanta and has been a fixture at rallies organized by the ultra–conservative tea party.


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